Whistleblower murders: Phiyega must help

2013-06-09 21:10
Riah Phiyega (Deaan Vivier, Beeld)

Riah Phiyega (Deaan Vivier, Beeld)

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Mbombela - National police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has been urged to bring justice to the families of politicians and whistleblowers who have been killed in Mpumalanga.

South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary in Mpumalanga, Bonakele Majuba, and local alliance partners have written Phiyega a memorandum demanding that she solve, amongst others, the murders of Mbombela municipal speaker Jimmy Mohlala, culture, sport and recreation spokesperson Sammy Mpatlanyane and former SACP leader Bomber Ntshangase.

“We...believe that it is your Constitutional obligation to protect all citizens in South Africa, including Mpumalanga province,” Majuba wrote. “Criminals who killed Jimmy Mohlala, Bomber Ntshangase and others, must not only be arrested but police must investigate cases properly and lead to conviction.”

The SACP also demanded that Phiyega release the report which was commissioned by former National Commissioner Bheki Cele on the political killings in the province.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed that some of the murders, known as the January Murders, were politically motivated and needed special attention. The murders include those of Mpatlanyane and Mohlala who were murdered in January 2009 and January 2010 respectively.

Four people accused of murdering Mohlala were acquitted in January last year because of insufficient evidence.

Mpatlanyane’s murder case has been dogged by controversy relating to shoddy police work. Two police officers are accused of staging an identification parade after another officer's gun was used to murder Mpatlanyane. The cops are still at work in the province.

Last year, the NPA ordered an investigation into the two officers as well as the officer whose gun was reportedly stolen and used to kill Mpatlanyane.

The investigations are also probing allegations that the crime scene was tampered with before forensic experts arrived.

The staged ID parade led to the arrest of three foreign nationals - Mozambican Nito Mashava, 27, Tanzanian Omari Issa, 27, and Congolese Tupac “Abu” Ntumba, 26.

The case was provisionally withdrawn in July last year because Mashava, who pointed out his two co-accused, is mentally ill and was declared unfit to stand trial. He is expected to be declared a state president's patient.

A third January Murder, that of ANC chief whip in the Ehlanzeni district municipality Johan Ndlovu who was killed on 5 January 2011, has been finalised. Three people have been convicted and no evidence was presented to indicate it was politically motivated.

Majuba expressed concern about the withdrawal of court cases relating to political murders.

“Whilst appreciating the good work performed by our police in general and your office in particular, we are equally not happy about the performance and handling of some cases, especially those that are related to corruption... If wrong people were arrested, then the real criminals must be arrested.

“Criminals are safe in the province but citizens, especially, politicians are always in danger of being murdered... It is common knowledge and spread all over the commercial and print media, even electronic media, that all those who happen to fight against corruption are always in danger in Mpumalanga province,” he wrote.

Spokesperson in Phiyega’s office, Brigadier Phuti Setati, could not answer questions relating to the Cele report.

He could only say: “The memorandum handed over to the office of the National Commissioner by the SACP-Mpumalanga on 05 June 2013 is receiving attention.”

Read more on:    riah phiyega  |  mbombela  |  politics

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